Tuesday, the New Digg v1 platform was launched on the old www.digg.com domain, and the change in visual appearance is striking! Gone on the homepage is the single column of stories, any sort of categorization, the up and down thumb votes, comments(!) and the usernames to go along with those missing comments.
What remains is a single front page, at the moment, that is broken down into three major sections – Top Stories, Popular and Upcoming. The Top Stories, at a very quick glance, has an almost Pinterest feel to it now, with large photos and small blurb of text in a snappy 3-column set up on a white background. The Popular stories, which are defined as “the most-shared stories on Digg in the last 18 hours”, include 2 or 3 Twitter accounts that had tweeted out each of the popular story in question. It is not immediately clear how those Twitter users are chosen. The last section, Upcoming, features a list of content links that are defined as “the newest stories on Digg”. However, there is no indication as to who submitted these stories or when they were submitted.
Speaking of submitting content, one of the few ways to interact with New Digg, such as it is, is to link your Facebook account to the site and submit a URL, or “submit” a link by tweeting a URL tip to @digg on Twitter. Unfortunately, since there is no official account for a user on Digg, even after linking a Facebook account to the site, there’s no way to track what links you have submitted. Also, beware, as linking your Facebook page to Digg, and subsequently giving a posted link a “thumbs up” will show that you’ve dugg that link on your Facebook timeline.
A quick look at the FAQ section shows that the reason for the Facebook connection is that “using Facebook for account registration is a short-term solution that will seriously cut down on spam, while we take our time to develop more robust spam-filter technology.” Additionally, for those wondering where your old Digg account went, the FAQ states that Digg is “working on a system that will extract all user data from the old Digg infrastructure. In August we’re launching an archive website for users of the old Digg to find, browse, and share a history of their submissions, diggs, and comments.”
At the moment all story links, no matter which section they are in on the site, sends the user directly to that story with no option to comment on the story within Digg. Where those stories fall on Digg, and whether they even make it to the viewing public of Digg at all, is now based on internal editorial decisions rather than user votes. So what remains, essentially, is a Drudge Report model, where you submit a link and hope the editorial team deems that link worthy enough for publication. Good luck getting your link published! Should your link make it through, users can still vote on it, but now the total score for a link’s popularity is the sum of the number of Facebook shares, Twitter retweets and Digg thumbs up rather than just Diggs. Additionally, you can no longer down vote a story.
Aside from submitting content the only other interaction Digg allows you to do is share the content you see on Digg via Facebook or Twitter. Both options will share the link via URL shortener http://on.digg.com. In a sneaky move by Digg, their shortener 302 redirects to a bit.ly URL which in turn 301 redirects to the source material, rather than directly redirecting to the source link. Give the source material social credit where credit is due and share the content directly from the source site’s social buttons or with a bit.ly link so the content can get full social signal relevance.
This is certainly not the final version of Digg, and we are sure to see additional features soon, but is it really worth it for them to put this product that is obviously incomplete into the market so quickly? The Internet is fickle, and this first impression is going to stick around for quite some time, and will certainly tarnish any updates New Digg v2 provides before it is even launched.
(Feature Photo Source: lexmccall)